Mother to Child HIV Transmission Reduces in Eastern Uganda

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In short
Minister Sarah Opendi says this was achieved through taking HIV/AIDS counselling and testing services to pregnant women in communities in the districts of Jinja, Iganga, Bugiri, Namutumba, Mayuge, Kaliro, Namayingo and Luuka.

State minister for health Sarah Opendi says the number of HIV-positive mothers who transmit the virus to their unborn babies has reduced in seven districts of eastern Uganda.
 
Opendi was speaking in Jinja yesterday at a dialogue to assess Strengthening TB and HIV/AIDS Responses in East and Central Uganda (STAR-EC) project. The eight-year project was implemented in eight districts in Eastern Uganda.

The minister says this was achieved through taking HIV/AIDS counselling and testing services to pregnant women in communities in the districts of Jinja, Iganga, Bugiri, Namutumba, Mayuge, Kaliro, Namayingo and Luuka.
 
Opendi notes that overall HIV positivity exposed to infants had decreased from 12 percent in 2009 to 6.5 percent by end of June 2016.
  
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Alex Mugume, the STAR-EC Uganda Chief of Party, says the prevalence was reduced through taking testing services to communities, training health workers on following up mothers who tested positive, and ensuring that the medicines are available.

He adds that availability of drugs even for the adults helped in suppressing the virus and that this reduced chances of transmission leading to reduction in prevalence.
  
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Last month, Uganda received 17 billion shillings from the United States government to conduct fresh surveys to determine the national HIV/Aids prevalence.
 
Opendi says despite the preliminary findings, the Ministry of Health will still conduct the Uganda Population HIV/Aids Impact Assessment Survey in the region to confirm the results.
 
According to statistics from the World Health Organisation, only 32 percent of the 2.6 million children living with HIV globally have access to antiretroviral medications needed to keep them healthy.
 
However, over the eight years, the number of children with access to HIV treatment in the   eastern region increased from only 200 in 2009 to over 3,000 this year.

 

About the author

Beatrice Nyangoma
Beatrice Nyangoma values her independence as a journalist. This was one of her major considerations before she became a URN staffer in 2015.

Nyangoma says, "I like URN because it gives me room to decide what stories I want to work on. That is so important to me."

The URN Jinja bureau chief since July 2016, Nyangoma considers health matters a beat close to her heart. One of the highlights of her career so far were her exclusive interviews unveiling the rot in Mulago hospital in early 2016.

Nyangoma started out writing for the Red Pepper newspaper in 2011 in her final year of university. She was majorly a health reporter. In 2012, Nyangoma moved to Top Television as a health, business reporter and weekend news editor. She was also the assistant editorial manager of Kabarole Research and Resource Centre FM (KRC FM).